The wonders of Epirus: from Ioannina to the Zagorian Villages.
The city of Ioannina is the capital of the region of Epirus and is a beautiful town situated in an idyllic location on the shores of Lake Pamvotis.
After several demanding days we wake up calmly and we sit in a tavern to enjoy a good coffee “elliniko”. Here the architecture is completely different from Athens and the rest of Greece: it is clear that the Turkish influences have survived more than in other parts of the country. Our friend Simela, that we know from a long time, joins us for the day. She show us the streets of this magnificent city telling us the legends and stories of the most interesting places.
Ioannina was under the Ottoman occupation for nearly five hundred years, the longest period in the history of Greece. The houses are low and colorful with wooden doors and windows. Walking throught the streets we find several shops selling local crafts displaying objects in wood and silver. All this make me come back to the memory the wonderful period when I was living in Istanbul, in the shadow of the tower of Galata.
We walk along the street that runs alongside the lake to observe the island of Nissiche located in the middle of the lake, once the residence of Ali Pasha, king of the Ottoman Empire which ruled the region from 1788 to 1822.
Massive walls hide the heart of Ioannina, where we visit the Byzantine Museum and we appreciate the beauty of Fethiye Mosque (Fethiye Camii). In the distance the Pindos mountain range make a frame to this amazing scenary.
We would like to stay longer in this harmonious town in Northern Greece but we are obliged to leave in time for a visit to the zagorian villages. Zagoria is a mountainous region located north of Ioannina, which is on the border with Albania. Forty-six villages are connected by a network of paths that offer endless walks through the beautiful scenery in the south of the mountains of Pindos.
Before the sun set we visit the church of Agia Paraskevi which is located in a panoramic position of the Vikos Gorge which extends for 12 miles between vertical walls that rise up to 950 meters: a spectacle of nature!
Another day full of emotions and landscapes, waiting to taste the future!
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